{Christmas in July Gift Exchange!}

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I recently participated in a fun Christmas in July gift exchange with Courtney and Jenny! I was matched up with Julie and sent her this box of goodies. Check out her blog for a recap!

IMG_6042Courtney, who co-hosted the exchange, received my name and sent us a wonderful box of goodies! We just got back from our beach trip and Harper and Will were so excited to receive a package:)

Eagerly opening the box…

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Pulling out the gifts…

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Glow sticks!

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And bath toys (Boon-a favorite brand of mine!)!
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Glitter pipe cleaners!

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A Planes activity/sticker book!

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Not only glow sticks but glow stick sunglasses! How cool! Will got his own orange glow stick (his fave color) and Harper received a purple one (her fave color). They were amazed that they both got their favorite colors! Will even said, “How did they know orange was my favorite color?!”
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Lisa Frank stickers-who remembers those from their childhood? Maybe I’m just getting old, ha! And even a wonderful book for me! The Artful Parent: Simple Ways to Fill Your Family’s Life with Art and CreativityIMG_8210

Will and Harper immediately opened the glitter pipe cleaners and started creating an art project with them.
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Glow sticks were next…even though it wasn’t dark out, they hid under the covers and played with them.

Loving the stickers!
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We received a cute homemade card from Aria wishing us a happy summer. Thanks so much, Aria and Courtney! We love our gifts:) It was lots of fun to get these goodies in the middle of summer!

Weekly Pinterest Project: Week 50-Beach Countdown Chain

For today’s Pinterest project, Will and I created a simple countdown to our beach trip chain.  We always love counting down to special events and holidays, so I did some searching on Pinterest for a beach countdown chain. I found one and modified it to fit my artistic abilities (which are greatly lacking, ha!).  Plus, I did the prep work during nap time and didn’t want to spend tons of time on it…too much else to get done during my time of “peace and quiet,” as Will calls it.

I cut out strips of blue construction paper for the actual chains and created some orange starfish, yellow seashells, and white sand dollars.  These were done freehand, so don’t look too close! They aren’t that good, but I figured Will and Harper would appreciate it!

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When Will woke up from his nap, he helped me attach the chain and strategically place the shells and stars in a pattern.

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Waiting for instructions from mommy.

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He handed me the blue strips and I stapled them together.

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He selected the shells to go on each chain and I stapled them on.

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Since I didn’t want to make a huge chain, we started the chain countdown 12 days before we headed to the beach.

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Will displaying our masterpiece!

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What types of countdowns do you do with your kiddos?

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Fun {free!} Summer Day!

On 7/11, we headed to a local bounce house to use our free tickets that we received from our local library. For our summer reading program, we keep a log of the books that I read to Harper and Will. We frequently go to the library and get our book list stamped, and in turn, we get to select some cool prizes. Last time, we picked up two free passes to a local bounce house-a $12 value!

Having fun at the bounce house! Harper liked the mini bounce house/slide.20140716-072707-26827164.jpg
Will preferred the bigger bounce house, which included obstacle courses and a climbing wall. 
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Since it just happened to be 7/11, we went to 7 Eleven and picked up some free lemonade slurpees! Yum! I gave Will and Harper their own mini slurpees (filled part way up), which they loved! 
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{oh hey Friday!}

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Happy Friday! I’m linking up with Karli and Amy for oh hey Friday! Here’s a short and sweet post:)

{one} Last week, we met our babysitter, Nana, and her grandchildren for a play date at a local elementary school playground. It was so much fun! There was a three story castle playground! Will loved climbing to the top of the castle and sliding down super fast. The school also had a neat nature trail that we explored.
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{two} While I attempted to do some work in the kitchen recently, Will and Harper occupied themselves by playing in the sink. I filled up the sink with some water and gave them some kitchen tools-they easily played for half an hour or more. Now they’ve been asking me every day if they can play in the sink!

20140714-071958-26398721.jpg{three} Peanut butter pie! Yum! I recently made the Pioneer Woman’s Peanut Butter Pie-so delicious! Check out the recipe here. So easy to make as well. 20140714-071958-26398955.jpg{four} While we’re talking about food, here’s another yummy dessert I make each summer: chocolate zucchini bread. It’s a great way to use up the huge zucchini boats that grow in the garden! Check out the recipe here20140714-071959-26399161.jpg{five} I found the cutest beach cover up for Harper at Target (of course!). It’s adorable on her! I want one in my size! 20140714-071959-26399382.jpgHappy Friday!

 

{oh hey Friday!}

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Hey! Happy Friday! I’m linking up with The Farmer’s Wife and September Farm for their brand new link up, “oh hey Friday!” I’m so glad they decided to pick up with a Friday link up that’s similar to 5 on Friday. I’ve really been missing the 5 on Friday link up and loved reading other 5 on Fridays.  

Here are my five!

{one} We took Will and Harper bowling the other week. It was our first time taking the kiddos, and they had a good time. I signed them up for the Kids Bowl Free program, so their game was free (I just had to pay for shoe rental). You should check out the Kids Bowl Free program! It’s fun!

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{two} This broken piece from a screwdriver was in my tire! Yikes! I went home to visit my in-laws earlier in the week and before I left, my husband told me to keep an eye on my tire. It looked slightly lower than the others. Luckily, I made it to WV and back without any problems. but the next day I took it to the tire place since it seemed like there was a slow leak.  Well, the guy working at the tire place brought me this (big!) gem and said it was lodged in my tire. Wow! 
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{three} Walks with the neighbors. We walked up the road the other evening to visit our friends, Isaac, the donkey, and Shadow, the horse. While we were there, the kiddos used the horse trailer as a jungle gym!
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{four} Painted piggies! Have you heard of Piggy Paint before? It’s a non-toxic, low odor, kid friendly nail polish that says it’s “natural as mud,” ha! I bought some from a local diaper/natural store when it was on sale a few weeks ago and finally got Harper still enough to paint her piggies! I kept her occupied by giving her a few new kitchen utensils she hadn’t played with before. So cute! I might need to buy a few more colors:) 
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{five} I took the kiddos to Nana’s on Monday for a few hours so I could get some work done around the house. It’s amazing how much I can get done without two little ones in the house! They had a blast and I was able to be super productive for the morning. Here they are zooming around Nana’s!
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{4th of July Weekend!}

I hope everyone had a great 4th of July weekend! We just got back from an extended weekend in Durham. We headed to NC on Thursday to visit my brother and sister-in-law.  

Heading down to NC…towards the end of the trip, we broke down and gave the kiddos the iPads so they could play a few educational games.  It kept them occupied until we arrived close to dinner.  20140706-181432-65672721.jpgMy sister-in-law cooked a yummy meal of salmon, black bean quinoa salad (it was so yummy! Even my non-eating salad husband ate it and liked it!), and peas.  We hung out and visited all evening. 20140706-181432-65672940.jpgWill and Harper enjoyed playing on their porch. 20140706-181434-65674160.jpgBright and early on July 4th, we headed to a local donut and biscuit shop called Rise. Yummy! They have some delicious donuts and biscuits.  I shared an egg and cheese biscuit with the kiddos and split a creme brûlée donut with my husband.  

Will really wanted the Cap’n Crunch with strawberry glaze donut so daddy went back in after we finished breakfast and ordered one to split with Harper.  20140706-181433-65673346.jpgRise has some unique specialty donuts, including their 4th of July donut that had pop rocks on it! I like how they organize their menu: old school donuts, new school, our school.  20140706-181433-65673143.jpgAfter breakfast, we headed straight to the Museum of Life and Science.  My sister-in-law works for a large company in Durham and had a special pass for free tickets to the museum. We just had to pay for one kiddo.  

The museum was lots of fun! We walked around outside for a while and saw some lemurs and wolves and watched the release of butterflies, including some really pretty blue ones. 20140706-181433-65673737.jpgOf course, we found a play area at the museum and spent most of the time there, ha!20140706-181433-65673953.jpgWe headed back to my brother’s house for a quick lunch and then naps for the kids.  After naps, we went to a 4th of July picnic at their friends’ house. Fortunately, most of their friends have small children (my brother and sister-in-law do not have kiddos yet), so there were other kiddos at the picnic and the house was quite kid friendly.  20140706-181434-65674353.jpgEnjoying some homemade fudge pops! I need to find a recipe for this…they were yummy!20140706-181434-65674760.jpgAfter the picnic, we went to the Durham Bulls Stadium to watch the USA play Chinese Taipei. Last year, we got to see the Durham Bulls play on the 4th. 

While it was difficult keeping a two year old and a four year old occupied and interested during the entire baseball game, it was definitely worth it to see the fun fireworks at the end!

Whew-what a fun filled day! The kiddos were worn out by the time we arrived home after eleven pm. 20140706-181434-65674958.jpgThe next day we slept in, enjoyed some waffles and fruit for breakfast, and headed to the farmer’s market.  After walking around the market, we went to a local pool. 

Sunbathing Harper…

20140706-181435-65675150.jpgand Will…20140706-181435-65675561.jpgAfter the pool, it was back to my brother’s house for naps before enjoying a delicious dinner at a barbecue restaurant called The Pit. We met up with my brother’s college roommate, his wife, and parents.  Everyone ordered a dish and we shared the meal family style. Yummy fried chicken, mac and cheese, sweet potato fries, hush puppies, and slaw. 20140706-181435-65675769.jpgThe kiddos had been asking to get ice cream during our trip to Durham, so we walked several blocks to a local ice cream shop called The Parlour. I enjoyed a scoop of some of the best salted caramel ice cream I’ve ever had! Harper and Will had a small scoop of Thin Mint. The Parlour had some interesting flavors, including summer corn and lavender with blueberry swirl.  20140706-181436-65676557.jpgThe kids were so worn out from our fun trip that they slept until 9am on Sunday morning! Unbelievable! They’ve never slept that late, EVER!

My sister-in-law made some blueberry pancakes for breakfast (per Will’s request), and shortly after eating we headed home. 

Harper having some last minute fun with her uncle. 20140706-181436-65676164.jpgHeading home…20140706-181437-65677223.jpgWe had a fun, super busy time in Durham with our cool aunt and uncle! Harper and Will keep asking when we are going back! 

 

{thoughts for thursday}

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Hello! I’m linking up with Annie and Natalie for Thoughts on Thursday!

Today is just a random photo post of all our fun summer happenings! We’ve been busy:)

Last week, I helped out at VBS as a crew leader for Will and several other preschoolers.  Let me tell you…hanging out all night with a bunch of four year olds will wear you out! We had lots of fun, though…and it was a cool theme-Weird Animals.20140629-154152-56512094.jpg

Big girl playing with play-dough.  I hid animals in the play-dough and she had lots of fun finding them!20140629-154150-56510790.jpg

Will decided he wanted to “wear” his puppy dog. He put on my Ergo and walked around the house styling in his cool shades and pajamas!20140629-154151-56511677.jpg

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Storytime at the local library.  We’ve been trying to get to the library at least once a week for storytime and to check out books.

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Haircut time! Will desperately needed a haircut…it was so bad I couldn’t remember when he had gotten a hair cut last. Once we got to our hair stylist, we realized that it had been since Easter break! No wonder his hair was so LONG!! Any time we get Will’s hair cut, Harper has to get hers “cut” as well, ha!

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Loving the outdoors (and those cute pigtails!)!

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Craft/activity time at VBS.

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And more scenes from VBS…

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On Friday, we met up with a friend and her daughter at a local bounce house. I hadn’t been there before but it was lots of fun! The bounce house/fun center had an hour and a half blocked off for kids to come play, so we spent the entire time running around and jumping in the bounce houses. They also had a train table and some smaller toys for younger kids, which was great for Harper. 20140629-154154-56514918.jpg

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Happy Thursday!